Getting stuff done, royally.

Getting Things Done with Implementation Queen Phil Jackson
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I have been called many things …

Some cruel, some kind and some I choose to assume are kind.  Only because figuring out how they were intended might hurt my brain.  But one that sticks with me and that I’m very proud of was being called “The Implementation Queen” at one of my business groups.  Ignore any thoughts of homophobia.  I would cheerfully call the lady who said it a skank and we’d still split a bottle of red as friends.  She just meant I was great at getting things done.

It has taken me a lot of years to come up with a way of effectively getting things done.

I’ve always instinctively been a list freak.  In fact, I have been known to put things on a list I’ve already done just for the simple pleasure of crossing them off again.

This year is my first adventure into ‘paper-free’.  I’ve tried lists on my phone, laptop, whatever in the past.  But I didn’t find them particularly useful.  I need something that I can scribble, underline, change colour pens, highlight and draw pictures at times.  I think it’s wonderful that I can now do all that on a phone or tablet really easily.

Incidentally, if you’re a small business owner, forget separating business and home.  It’s all just one big list, as you’ll appreciate if you’ve ever calculated commissions from your bed and grabbed a bit of online shopping while a tint is processing.

Getting MORE done

The first step to getting things done is to be really careful what makes it on to your list in the first place.  This goes back to your goalsetting – your list should really only contain those tasks which are aligned with your goals.  You should practice saying “no” to things that aren’t in line with your strategy straight away.  I’ve found, over the years, that good manners come with a timely decline.  When I say “I’ll think about it”  I find I take twice the time to say “no” later.

Are you bad at saying ‘no’?  I know where you can get practice for free.  Next time a telemarketer calls, DON’T hang up.  Keep saying ‘no’ instead!  Free training!


Next, I make use of a technique from Nigel Botterill.  He has a sign he hangs on his office door.  It literally says that he mustn’t be disturbed unless the building is on fire.  You may not have the luxury of an office.  But you absolutely need some undisturbed time to work.  This includes turning your phone off.  Even if you can only grab 10 minutes a day after the kids are in bed, you’re adding 1 hour+ of focussed energy a week to getting things done.

Reward yourself constantly.  When I’m planning my work I say things like “after this blog, I’ll have a cup of tea and a biscuit”.  You must stick to your rewards or you’ll lose the impact really quickly.

Diarise every day

The problem with to-do lists is they never end.  And they’re not really very effective either.  We tend to cherry-pick the easy tasks and those that can be done quickly, all the while the list grows with bigger, uglier tasks.

My biggest step towards getting things done came when I started allocating time to plan at the end of every day.  My mantra is “Today isn’t over until tomorrow is planned”.  I admit I would love to hit Inbox Zero every day, but I have made To-Do List Zero non-negotiable.  Everything on the list has to have a time estimate allocated to it.  Then I diarise those tasks to make sure I get them done.  I spent probably 30-45 minutes getting my list diarised at the start.  Now I spend under 10 minutes and I implement a lot!

Try it.  I promise it changed the way I work almost overnight to a more organised method and increased my productivity too.  Got a better way?  Let me know over on the Build Your Salon facebook page.

Phil xx

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